Preventing Sewer Emergencies: A Homeowner’s Guide

Preventing Sewer Emergencies

As a homeowner, dealing with a sewer or drain backup can be a messy, stressful and potentially costly emergency. However, being proactive about sewer cleaning Pittsburgh and maintenance can help prevent these unpleasant issues from occurring. By following key tips for maintaining your home’s sewer line and drains, you can avoid most backups and keep your plumbing operating smoothly for years to come.

Inspect and Clear Pipes Regularly

The easiest way to prevent major sewer clogs is inspecting your home’s drainage pipes annually prior to peak usage periods. Carefully check key connection points and use an auger as needed to remove any accumulating debris or small blockages before they grow.

Pay special attention to parts of the line that slope or have angles, as debris tends to collect there over time. Thorough sewer cleaning annually when usage is lower prevents emergencies during high-flow holidays or events when plumbers are most in demand.

Upgrade Old Piping

If your home has aging or outdated drainage pipes, one of the single best preventative measures is upgrading to newer piping. Older cast iron or clay piping becomes brittle and cracked over decades of use.

Smaller hairline cracks let water seep out while allowing tree roots and other debris to gradually intrude, leading to major backups. Replacing old piping with smooth, damage-resistant PVC piping eliminates this issue entirely. Though a pricey upfront cost, it’s an extremely worthwhile long-term investment that prevents emergency calls.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

It’s tempting to pour store-bought chemical drain cleaners down slow drains. However, these products actually damage modern piping when used excessively. The caustic chemicals eat away at the protective internal linings.

Left unaddressed, this leads to buildup accretion and accelerated wear. For preventative maintenance, use boiling water or a plunger to clear simple clogs first. If truly necessary, minimize the use of chemical cleaners to the least amount needed regarding concentration and frequency. Protect your investment by handling minor issues gently before they escalate.

Manage Nearby Vegetation

Dense vegetation like shrubs or trees planted too closely to your home’s plumbing can cause issues over time. As plants and roots grow for sustenance, they can infiltrate even the smallest exterior cracks or gaps. Root masses gradually filling sewer piping are a common cause of major line failure.

If selling or moving into a new home, check for vegetation growing along the foundation or too close to utility line access points. For your existing home, trim back any suspicious greenery and monitor the area vigilantly each growing season. Prevent intrusion before it happens with attentive landscaping management.

Dispose of Waste Properly

A sneaky source of many avoidable sewer backups comes from improper waste disposal by homeowners. Pouring fats, oils or grease down drains coats piping interiors and causes accumulation blockages over months of repeat use. Trapping and discarding food waste is critical.

Other common culprits include “flushable” wipes that don’t dissolve, feminine hygiene products, diapers and paper towels. These items can snag and collect other passing debris. Being mindful of your home’s limitations regarding waste and sticking to the three P’s – pee, poo and toilet paper – makes a dramatic difference long-term. If in doubt, throw it out in your garbage disposal instead.

Left unmanaged, home sewer lines inevitably face issues from accumulation, wear or intrusion. But being proactive about key areas like regular sewer cleaning provides immense preventative benefits for minimal annual effort. Follow these homeowner tips to stop avoidable sewer emergencies before they start. Invest today in routine maintenance and continue monitoring your plumbing.